Tim for Ukulele Hall of Fame? Wukulele: Friday Links

This Facebook group is trying to get Tiny Tim inducted into the Ukulele Hall of Fame. I’m not quite sure of the Ukulele Hall of Fame’s status, they haven’t inducted anyone since 2007. Nevertheless, it provokes two interesting topics for discussion. Should Tiny Tim be in the Ukulele Hall of Fame? Who should be in the Uke Hall of Fame? Leave your answers in the comments.

The full line-up for Wukulele has been announced. And it’s the best uke festival line up this year. Bob Brozman is the big draw and there are plenty of Uke Hunt favourites including The Bobby McGee’s, Sophie Madeleine, The Half Sisters and The Re-entrants. Another interesting act on the bill is Richard Durrant a classical guitarist responsible for this bit of BBC ukery.

Ralph Shaw’s Ukulele Entertainer continues to be the best ukulele blog on the net. Recent must reads include posts about polar exploration, pain and why watching YouTube can be destructive.

Hester Goodman from the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain has recorded a solo album and you can hear a few tracks on her MySpace. Via UOGB Fans who also have news that the Ukes will be playing with Jake Shimabukuro next year.

On the subject, Jake has some interesting things to say about the uke’s missing bass notes and the Ehime Maru. And according to Jake, his brother Bruce Shimabukuro is giving away free ukulele lessons via his Facebook.

If my finger-maths are correct this audio story from NPR will be up by the time you read this.

U900 visit London.

Mel Bay are targetting seniors with their latest ukulele book.

Ukulele shoes? (Thanks Jenny)

Pictures: Greta Garbo on uke, Pinstripe ukulele (much more sympathetic and understated than most ukulele paint-jobs), will play for chocolate

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19 Comments

  1. Simon June 4th, 2010 3:45 pm

    Who should be in the Ukulele Hall of Fame? How about a certain Al Woodshed? He’s done an awful lot to promote the uke…

  2. Howlin' Hobbit June 4th, 2010 3:47 pm

    3 quick comments:

    Of course Tiny Tim belongs in the UHOF. And if they’re not keeping up with it, they need to pass it along to someone who will.

    If you haven’t already subscribed to Ralph Shaw’s blog in your RSS aggregator, why?

    I’m in love with Hester. Have been since I heard her doing the Autumn Leaves part of the UOOGB mashup (Fly Me Off The Handel???). Not heard anything yet to change my mind.

  3. Peter June 4th, 2010 4:27 pm

    Pete Rose isn’t in the baseball hall of fame for the damage he did to the game. Using the same logic, Tiny Tim should be barred.

  4. PaulC June 4th, 2010 9:09 pm

    As a founding member of Tiny Tim Overdrive I find this TinyTimophobia highly distressing. He is one of the ukulele’s great Founding Fathers. A champion of our beloved instrument. His induction into the Ukulele Hall of Fame is long overdue.

  5. Ron Hale June 4th, 2010 11:05 pm

    That there needs to be a campaign to get Tiny Tim
    into the Ukulele Hall of Fame is undeniable evidence
    that it belongs in new hands. Tiny was a musical
    historian who helped keep old songs alive while
    he bravely championed the ukulele in an era that
    ridiculed it and him.

    James and Jake will, of course, be inducted,
    and rightfully so. It’s proper to wait until
    late in one’s career for induction, but with
    these two, why the delay, put them in right now.
    Craig should be inducted some day and so should you.

    The internet makes Hall of Fame selection both
    interesting and challenging for the future. How
    will internet popularity translate into pressure
    for induction into the Hall? Will internet stars
    responsible for bringing lots of new players to
    the instrument be deserving of induction in this new world (just one – jaaaaaaa). Will sheer numbers of videos and views be factors? Will, for
    instance, having the single most viewed uke video of all time be reason of inclusion? Don’t laugh
    or dismiss the possibilities, here. Future Hall of
    Fame members who do the voting (and how are they
    chosen, exactly?) may very well have been introduced to the instrument by video stars, and
    for most people the online ukulele world is de facto the ukulele world, period. So videos will be a or the prime determinant in future Hall choices. Until something else comes along, of course.

    I dig through YouTube daily trying to find gems
    amidst the rubble. And yes, as Ralph says, comparing yourself to others can be destructive,
    but it can also be inspiring. I like to think that
    by digging-up some nice videos I’m contributing some small amount to the ukulele world, but maybe
    not. But I can tell you that the song ukers are covering the most these days starts with the letter B. I wish I could not tell you that. So ultimately Ralph is right.

    I tried some of Hester’s non-Ukes stuff ages ago, and well, don’t leave the band is all I can say.
    Peter, on the other hand, shines outside of the
    group.

  6. Alec June 5th, 2010 9:55 am

    I’ve got a third idea. How about not having a ukulele hall of fame? The rock and roll hall of fame is embarrassing enough.

  7. Erin June 5th, 2010 10:54 am

    @Alec How about you actually go take a quick peek over at the Ukulele Hall of Fame site before making a very silly statement. It’s already in place so I don’t see why there is any need for cynicism. There are many talented and inspirational Ukulelists honored on that list but sadly this doesn’t included Tiny Tim as of yet.

    He should be included and remembered for paving a path for future ukulele players and being a traditional pop musical archivist.

  8. Woodshed June 6th, 2010 11:56 am

    Simon: Don’t be ridiculous!

    Hobbit: I think there’s an arguement to be had that he doesn’t belong there.

    Peter: I would agree that Tim has done more damange to the ukulele than he has helped.

    PaulC: I may be wrong as I don’t know much about him, but I don’t remember him doing any championing of the ukulele. Using it as a prop doesn’t really count.

    Ron: I couldn’t find anywhere on the site where they even hinted at what criteria they use when selecting people for the Hall of Fame.

    If it’s just famous people who played the ukulele, then Tim would have to be there. But judging by the inductees it seems to be more people who’ve made a contribution to the development of the ukulele.

    The two glaring ommissions are John King and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

    Alec: I do have some sympathy for your point (it seems a bit against the point to pick out an elite in something as egalitarian as the ukulele). But there is value in recognising the people that contributed to the development of the ukulele.

    Erin: I don’t think Tim paved the path for future ukulele players. If anything, he made it more difficult for them to be taken seriously.

    I think the best reason for his inclusion was put forward in a comment on the wall of the group: “Tim remains a symbol of the inherent individuality of uke players.”

  9. Erin June 6th, 2010 11:57 am
  10. Peter June 6th, 2010 6:09 pm

    Much of the initial disbelief and distaste of people who aren’t familiar with the instrument are because of images of Tiny Tim farting around on stage. We should all keep that in mind.

    However I do recognize that he kept the instrument at least in the public eye.

  11. Howlin' Hobbit June 7th, 2010 12:26 am

    Pete Rose did as much “damage” to baseball as Tim did to ukulele, to wit: none.

    The average person of any of the generations younger than me doesn’t have a clue who Tiny Tim was. Much of the initial disbelief and distaste might just stem from the bucket loads of arrhythmic and atonal crap that one has to wade through on the web to pick out the good players that are there. Because if you’re not a uke-phreak yourself, the web is where you see most of your ukulele players.

    There are 9 – 10 million people a year coming through the Pike Place Market where I play and I don’t hear Tim’s name twice in that time, unless it’s from someone online crying about how nobody takes the uke seriously because of him.

    And frankly, why anyone would wish such a horrible fate on the uke as to be “taken seriously” is simply beyond my ken. Shall we have conservatory training? Control freak stage parents terrorizing their kids into learning Jake’s whole repertoire note for note? Endless boring recitals of first year students? (Oh wait. We have that last one already. The web.)

    I’d much rather see it stay the lighthearted thing that it is. Even if that does mean wading through endless out of tune plunkings on $30 “instruments.”

    If you’re actually having so much trauma when you play in front of live people, remember that our host Al’s nickname comes from the process you go through to cure that.

  12. Erin June 7th, 2010 12:29 am

    @Howlin’ Hobbit The younger generation is becoming more familiar with him thanks to the internet and a pilot Episode of Spongebob Squarepants that featured one of his songs. It was a *huge* internet meme several years ago and plenty of people my age are aware of who Tiny Tim is because his performances are featured on YouTube and various other websites.

  13. Peter June 7th, 2010 3:26 pm

    “The average person of any of the generations younger than me doesn’t have a clue who Tiny Tim was. ”

    Actually they do because of Spongebob Squarepants. And youtube. But I digress.

    “I’d much rather see it stay the lighthearted thing that it is.”

    Me too. There’s a big difference been ‘lighthearted’ and ‘freakish joke’, though.

  14. Woodshed June 7th, 2010 9:27 pm

    Hobbit: You still haven’t said why Tim deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

    It’s slightly different on this side of the Atlantic, but I rarely hear Tiny Tim. When I started with the uke George Formby was always the first connection people would make. Now I’d say him and the UOGB are running about equal.

  15. Howlin' Hobbit June 8th, 2010 3:45 am

    Spongebob Squarepants doesn’t change much. I still only hear about Tiny Tim a couple times a year from all the passing pedestrians when I’m busking (or at more formal shows). And none of them seem to be freaked out. Well, more than usual for tourists anyways.

    Tiny Tim deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because he bravely went against the rock & roll/guitar god image that was being developed all around him and just was his own sweet (if p’raps about 9 pence to the shilling) self. In the mid-to-late 60s he was the *only* person with any fame playing the ukulele as his main hatchet.

    Now we seem to have come full circle. Scads of panting shredders in the wings, all wanting to be a guitar god, except on the ukulele. Many very talented folk for sure, but most of them leave me feeling sort of “meh.”

    That’s not to mention all the hipster bands adding a song or two on the uke (often played like a guitar) just to ride the latest meme. I find most of them somewhat underwhelming too.

  16. Peter June 8th, 2010 3:54 am

    I see how bravery is involved but what did he really do with that opportunity that fame afforded him? He wasn’t even a good technical player, like Formby. Moreover, while being iconoclastic is laudable, he did turn it into a joke, a prop really.

    A great example of the light-hearted spirit while actually retaining credibility is the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. The audience smiles but also appreciates the instrument as an instrument, not as just a prop. I’ll stop now, though, I’ve already thrown in my 5c.

    Btw, HH, your fantastic rendition of Ain’t Misbehavin’ is performances that really inspire to get better at the uke. Just as an aside.

  17. Pete Howlett June 9th, 2010 12:09 am

    Does Bob Brozman know it’s a ukulele festival – he hasn’t played uke out for a few years now, preferring the Charrango… Oh and Tiny Tim – wasn’t a uke player as such. It was really a prop.

  18. Rob NY June 9th, 2010 3:39 am

    Tim resurrected the uke when it was just a long distant memory of older folks. Raccoon coats, Roaring 20s, college days.When Tim appeared on the TV playing uke singing falsetto, I was amazed and entertained.Unfortunately Tim didn’t spark a uke resurgence.No one would trade learning or playing a guitar for a uke in those days.

    The Indie hipster bands and performers today have
    something in common with Tim.Unorthodoxy! I don’t believe the Indie bands or performers with their unorthodox rock instruments and vocals would have caught on in Tims time. Youtube, Itunes,internet, and the accepted nonconformist attitude in music today have changed all that.
    Enough rambling, Tim had balls. How many ukulele players appeared on Johnny Carson? How many uke players performed in front of 600,000 people as Tim did at Isle of Wright festival in 1970? He had an encyclopedic knowledge of pre rock music particulary Tin Pan Alley stuff.He also had a childrens album nominated for a grammy. Other than Tulips,the old standards Tim played are still pursued and played by novice and accomplished players. By all accounts Tim was a gracious and kind person. He should be in the Hall.

  19. Woodshed June 9th, 2010 11:11 am

    Hobbit: You make a good case. Although I can’t help but think that he’s one of the reasons there were no other major uke players at the time (or for a good twenty years after).

    Pete: I’m pretty sure he does. We’re promised a uke only set (although I suspect he’ll sneak in some charango).

    Rob: I think the ‘talisman of individuality’ is the best argument for his inclusion. And it is convincing. But I think there are many people who deserve to be inducted before Tiny Tim.

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